Bucks game is about so much more than just a hoops dream

Bucks game is about so much more than just a hoops dream
Dave Mast

Hope and the rest of the Holmes County Bucks invite everyone in the community to come to The Dungeon at West Holmes High School on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. for the 26th annual Bucks versus Holmes County All-Stars basketball game. The event culminates the celebration of National Board of Developmental Disabilities Month and the winter season of hoops coming to an end for the Bucks.


Every year the Holmes County Bucks host a hodgepodge area All-Star team that caps off their basketball season.

Every year for the past quarter century, this event seems to grow and draw a larger and larger crowd, much to the delight of the Bucks, who relish this chance to showcase their skills in front of a huge fan base that cheers wildly for them while the All-Stars willingly take the brunt of the fun-loving boos from the cheering section.

On Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at West Holmes High School, the Bucks will host this year’s All-Star contest, and the team members are already talking up this evening.

For the All-Star team members, the roster changes from year to year, but many of the old, familiar faces continue to show up and run the court with the Bucks.

Like many of those All-Stars, this year’s head coach Ty Meyer is gearing up to become the first head coach not to lose this game to the Bucks. Chances aren’t good, but the All-Stars can always dream big.

Meyer has wrangled up two dozen of the most menacing opponents the Bucks could possibly face — all community members who recognize the importance of this game.

“We’ve got a nice mix of old and new faces,” said Meyer, who has been involved with this game as an All-Star for more than a decade. “We’ve got some team members who have been here for the better part of its existence.”

Meyer said it is a common thread that keeps both him and the many All-Star volunteers coming back year after year.

“The relationship you build with the Bucks and between the All-Stars is amazing,” Meyer said. “This game has taken on such a big part of the Bucks season, and that evening is filled with so much joy and celebration, both from an emotional and physical standpoint.”

He said seeing the community support for the Bucks is an extension for the gratitude they have for the entire staff at the Holmes County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the work they do.

As for the 25-game losing streak, Meyer said you never know when the All-Stars might bring their A-game and shock the world with a win.

“I wouldn’t bet on it happening,” Meyer said.

Local coordinator for Holmes County Special Olympics Cindy Boals is in her first year in helping coordinate the game, taking on a role Rachel and Todd Day have shared for many years. Rachel Day continues to serve as a Bucks coach while Todd Day does the announcing at Bucks games.

“Without their help, along with Duane and Carrie Morrison, I would be lost,” Boals said. “Duane and Rachel are the coaches, and from the beginning of the season to now, I see so much improvement with all the players. They volunteer all their time to keep the team going.”

This year a couple of guys used to patrolling the area in a different way have joined the volunteer team. Scott Akins and Tom Vaughn, two local law-enforcement members, have volunteered their time to serve as the Bucks’ referees for all their home games.

“They’ve made it a lot of fun for the crowd and the team,” Boals said. “For our fun community games, you never know what foul will be called, which is part of the fun.”

Kevin Lynch has been one of those players who has been an All-Star for more than two decades. He said this is an evening he always circles on his calendar.

“I love supporting the Bucks, and this game is also a great way for all of us to show our gratitude to the entire community and to the BDD for their hard work,” Lynch said. “They’re such an important part of our community, and I can honestly say I can’t ever remember having more fun playing basketball.”

Boals said the game has been ongoing for a quarter century, having started in 1997. The only year it didn’t take place was 2021 due to COVID.

This game serves as a culmination to March being National Board of DD Month, and Boals said the excitement and joy at the BDD facility surrounding the game is infectious.

“This is an enormous community event that brings people together in a way like nothing else can,” Boals said.

Not only do the All-Stars participate, but also West Holmes High School adds plenty of flavor to the event. The Knights Pep Band will play, the Knights and Lady Knights senior basketball players will assist the Bucks, and the WHHS cheerleading team will be there to help ignite some “Bucks Fever” throughout the gym.

Like last season the Bucks will raffle off a purple and white basketball signed by all of the Bucks players. Last year there was some spirited bidding to capture this classic piece of memorabilia.

In addition, there will be a provider fair in the commons area outside the gym, where several organizations closely related to the BDD will provide information about their connection to the organization.

Organizations like Gentle Brook, Midwest, Sacred Grounds and others will be on hand to meet and greet visitors.

“It’s kind of a neat way for people to gain some understanding into all of the adult services that are offered and to learn more about the organizations that are involved with providing some fantastic care to our center’s adults,” Boals said. “These outside organizations have taken on a key role in serving our community.”

The Bucks extend an open invitation to any and all community members to put this game on their calendar. They hope to fill The Dungeon with fans who will help them celebrate their gifts, which extend well beyond the game of basketball.

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